Forest conversion and reforestation in the Harz Mountains
The MATSEN FOUNDATION has been supporting BERGWALDPROJEKT e.V. since 2020
The MATSEN STIFTUNG has been supporting the BERGWALDPROJEKT e.V. since 2020. One of the focal points of the non-profit organisation is the conversion of public forests with indigenous trees to strengthen resilience to storms, drought and bark beetle infestation - all consequences of climate change.
With the introduction of local deciduous trees such as beech, oak and sycamore maple these forests can develop a significantly higher resistance to climate change.
1000 trees for the Wurmberg!
The history of the forest in the Harz mountains has been closely linked to mining since 1515. Due to the enormous demand for wood, large areas were reforested with the fast-growing "lowland spruce" as early as 1730. Because of bark beetle damage and a hurricane-like storm in the winter of 1800, large parts of the Harz mountains were deforested at this time.
The reforestation took place again with spruce trees, which led to soil acidification. Next to that, these kind of monocultures are particularly vulnerable to bark beetle damage, storms aand snow breakage. As a result of the drought years 2018, 2019 and 2020, over 200 hectares of forest died in the in the territory of the Wurmberg. In the entire forest district of Bad Lauterberg, over 2000 hectares of forest died.
Under the patronage of the MATSEN-STIFTUNG, the employees of MATSEN CHEMIE AG wanted to support the BERGWALDPROJEKT e.V. with reforestation measures in the Harz Mountains in November 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event had to be postponed until next year. We have therefore decided to support the BERGWALDPROJEKT e.V. this year with a plant donation of 1000 trees and to cover the costs of bringing in the seedlings.
In the last week of november 2020, local forest workers planted 500 larches at the Wurmberg territory (51°43‘53.2“N 10°35‘31.2“E and 51°43‘58.7“N 10°35‘32.5“E, 0.37 hectares). The larch forms a stable framework for the later introduction of the European beech. On a second area (51°43‘26.8“N 10°35‘30.4“E, 0.36 hectares) 500 sycamore maples were planted. To protect these seedlings from being bitten by deer, the young trees were planted within a gate.
Working together for healthy forests
The employees of MATSEN CHEMIE AG will actively support BERGWALDPROJEKT e.V. in 2021 and will take part in reforestation measures at the Wurmberg in the Harz. On October 30, 2021, the MATSEN team will plant at least 500 indigenous trees, supported by friends and families and some of its long-term suppliers and customers.
The MATSEN FONDATION will bear the costs for the on-site support and organisation, the necessary work materials, the seeds, and the subsequent protection and care of the young trees.
Forest conversion as a program for resilience against climate change
The past year was once again the warmest since regular weather records began 130 years ago. The high temperatures were also accompanied by months of drought, which had an enormous impact on forest and agriculture.
In periods of drought, the humus and the topsoil gradually dry out. Old trees suffer from damage to their fine root system and are therefore very susceptible during the subsequent years to harmful insects, such as bark beetles and shot borers, whose propagation is favoured by the warm weather.
Spruce and pine stocks are most at risk. These tree species, which originally come from cool Scandinavia and Russia and are more adapted to the local climate there, together still form significantly more than half of the forest in Germany. As shown in the spring of 2019, such unstable spruce and pine forests of this nature are also at high risk of storms and breaking under snow. And their poorly degradable needles acidify the humus layer – with the result that water and nutrients are difficult to store.
Planting indigenous deciduous trees among unstable old spruce stock stops the loss of humus, improves the water and nutrient storage capacity, and increases the biodiversity considerably.
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D-20537 Hamburg, Germany